Tartar Sauce Recipe

Here’s a basic tartar sauce recipe for your fried catfish, grilled fish, crab cakes, tuna cakes, or birthday cakes! Just kidding about the birthday cakes, I think. But totally not judging if you’re into trying that.

Tartar sauce (or tartare sauce if you’re in the UK) has been around a long time and likely originated from the Tatars that occupied Ukraine and Russia way back when. Sounds like I might have made that up, but I read about it on the internet so it’s very likely completely true. I guess in France it was traditional with Steak Tartare which is raw ground steak mixed with egg yolk and herbs and I’m having a hard time right now not feeling a little ill imagining all that cholesterol. I’m curious as to when it became standard condiment for fried fish. I’d wager the British had a hand to play in that game.

Feel free to add cayenne pepper for more heat, or cilantro and lime juice for a Mexican-style tartar sauce. If you want to get extra fancy, try making tartar sauce with homemade aioli instead of regular mayo. If you’ve never tried making aioli, it’s worth a shot. Pretty easy and very satisfying. See this video and aioli recipe.

tartar sauce recipe


Tartar Sauce

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5 from 3 reviews

  • Yield: 2-4 1x


  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced dill pickle
  • 1 teaspoon minced capers
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne or black pepper


  1. Mix it all together and stick it in the fridge. It’ll keep a couple days.


Try using sweet pickles instead of dill for a different taste.
If you are out of lemon juice, use a tablespoon of pickle or caper juice instead.

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  1. Great Stone Face on March 5, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Love it, although we have a mixed marriage in our house. I am of the tartar sauce faith, while my wife is of the cocktail sauce persuasion.

    • Hilah on March 6, 2012 at 12:46 pm

      I like them both, as long as the cocktail sauce is hot and horseradishy.

      • Michael House on February 12, 2013 at 10:19 pm

        copy that.

  2. Rose on September 6, 2016 at 8:39 am


  3. Elisia on December 12, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    This tartar sauce is delicious! I love it! I love adding the cayenne, it gives it such a nice kick. Although it gives such a kick that someone who doesn’t love spicy would probably thing the cayenne makes it too spicy. I was also out of parsley and added a lot of fresh thyme leaves in its place and it still came out tasty.

    • Hilah on December 13, 2016 at 7:38 am

      Yum! Love the idea to add fresh thyme. 🙂

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